Gaples, Blackdog Speed Shop Back in Form at COTA
Pair of fourth-place finishes, fastest GT4 race lap Sunday for No. 5 Camaro
AUSTIN, Texas (May 21, 2023) – Tony Gaples and Blackdog Speed Shop posted their best result in their comeback season of SRO Motorsports America competition with a strong weekend in GT America Powered by AWS at Circuit of The Americas.
Gaples, in the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, raced his way to a pair of fourth-place finishes in the GT4 class. He also won the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap of the Race award in Sunday’s race, further showing the improvement in the Camaro four events into the season.
Saturday’s race saw Gaples start eighth in the class, and that was as low as the No. 5 Camaro ran in either race. He made up a spot to seventh at the start and advanced another position by the halfway point. The good vibes continued as Gaples posted his fastest laps of the race in the closing stages and eventually finished fourth in the final order.
That momentum continued Sunday. With the race starting in mixed conditions, Gaples rolled off sixth but went to fourth by the third lap of the race. The No. 5 Camaro set the fastest GT4 lap – 2:19.845 – in the opening 15 minutes, and its strong pace continued through to the first of two full-course yellows with 16 minutes remaining and Gaples still in fourth.
The restart was pure chaos as rain began to fall steadier around the circuit, which brought Gaples right into the fight for the lead as the four lead cars in class were nose-to-tail until the race ended under yellow with three minutes left.
Blackdog Speed Shop will look to carry on the COTA momentum into its next event at Virginia International Raceway on June 16-18.
TONY GAPLES, NO. 5 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “That’s more like it! This was a fun weekend, and we haven’t been able to say that a lot this year. First off, I can’t say enough about the work from everyone on this team. We came in with a focus on making the chassis and tire last, and we did that for both races. This is by far the best the Camaro has felt this year, and it feels really good to be competitive and be racing for podiums and points. Do I think we can keep it going? I hope so. That’s the goal going into the summer.”
RAY SORENSON, TEAM MANAGER, BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP: “This was a really rewarding weekend for this entire team. Our engineering team came into this weekend with the goal of figuring out how to maximize our tire life and performance. We knew the car was good and Tony is obviously a great driver. So keeping the tire under him and the car was going to be the key to the weekend. They came up with a good package, the crew did a great job of setting up the car around that, and Tony did his usual great work behind the wheel. Overall, a great weekend for Blackdog Speed Shop.”